Although metaphors are essential tools in everyday communication and educational settings, the literature lacks evidence of effective training tools to promote metaphor comprehension in typical development. Grounding in theoretical pragmatics, we developed a novel metaphor comprehension training (MetaCom) for school-age children that focuses on inferential and contextual aspects of metaphors. The effects of the MetaCom were tested against a control training focusing on text comprehension in a randomized controlled trial involving 55 children aged between 8;8 and 9;8. Only children in the MetaCom group improved in the ability to verbally explain the meaning of a metaphor. Moreover, only the MetaCom showed transfer effects to reading comprehension. These findings suggest that targeting inference and attention to context is key to promote metaphor understanding, and that the benefits might extend to linguistic and communicative skills at large. The MetaCom training can thus represent a promising tool for educational programs, possibly also in atypical populations.

Efficacy and benefits of the MetaCom training to promote metaphor comprehension in typical development

Lecce, S;Del Sette, P;Bianco, F;Canal, P;Bambini, V
2022-01-01

Abstract

Although metaphors are essential tools in everyday communication and educational settings, the literature lacks evidence of effective training tools to promote metaphor comprehension in typical development. Grounding in theoretical pragmatics, we developed a novel metaphor comprehension training (MetaCom) for school-age children that focuses on inferential and contextual aspects of metaphors. The effects of the MetaCom were tested against a control training focusing on text comprehension in a randomized controlled trial involving 55 children aged between 8;8 and 9;8. Only children in the MetaCom group improved in the ability to verbally explain the meaning of a metaphor. Moreover, only the MetaCom showed transfer effects to reading comprehension. These findings suggest that targeting inference and attention to context is key to promote metaphor understanding, and that the benefits might extend to linguistic and communicative skills at large. The MetaCom training can thus represent a promising tool for educational programs, possibly also in atypical populations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1467319
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